The Chicago Blackhawks are expected to be Stanley Cup contenders when the playoffs roll around, and in all likelihood, they will be. However, with a string of poor play in their rear-view, some ‘Hawks fans are reaching for the panic button. Here are three reasons why they should put that hand down for the time being.
#3: This Happens Every Year
The Blackhawks aren’t perfect, and despite their success in the playoffs each year, they fall on hard times at least once a season. I would advise fans to take a look back to the 2010-11 campaign, when the Blackhawks dropped 9 losses in a row, and it seems that Joel Quenneville was at the end of his tenure with the team. They went on to qualify for the playoffs by a hair, and were one goal away from upsetting the President’s Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the playoffs.
Though this year, there has been no long losing streaks, it seems that the inconsistencies the Blackhawks have had since Patrick Kane’s injury have had an even worse effect. However, with 8 games remaining, the Blackhawks are still within striking distance of home-ice advantage during the first round, or even capturing the Central Division crown, especially with two huge four-point games against the St. Louis Blues still left on the calendar. Yes, they will have to bring a much more formidable game to the table on those nights, but the success the team has had this season should instill confidence in their fans for these upcoming matches.
#2: The Pieces Are There, Now It’s Time To Finish The Puzzle
On paper, the Blackhawks should challenge for a Stanley Cup, with or without Patrick Kane. Though they haven’t showed it in their past two games, the Blackhawks have one of the most well-rounded NHL rosters in years, let alone in the league this year. However, it seems on each night, something lets them down. Have it be depth at defense, with Michal Rozsival’s costly turnovers against Dallas, or offense in Philadelphia, or even goaltending against the Blue Jackets, the Blackhawks’ losses seem to come when the team can’t fit everything together.
Head Coach Joel Quenneville has to shoulder some of the blame for this, as he frequently turns on the ‘line blender’, preventing the Blackhawks’ struggling players from getting any consistency. However, when the team collectively decides to ‘flip the switch’, as they do every year, they will become a nearly unstoppable force once again. Many thought it had already happened with the team’s recent streak of points, but if it has to wait until the final games of the regular season, it’s better ‘late’ than ‘never’.
#1: The NHL Already Has Enough Embarrassing Fans
I’m looking at you, Buffalo.
Sabres’ fans cheering the opposition is some of the most disgusting fan behavior I have witnessed in my 17 years on this planet. Add in Oilers’ and Leafs’ so-called “faithful” tossing their expensive jerseys on to the ice surface after disappointing efforts by their teams, and one concludes quite quickly that the NHL has a serious problem on their hands with these particular clubs.
Yes, those are all basement teams, and yes, no ‘Hawks jerseys will be hitting the ice any time soon. However, as Blackhawks’ fans, we are in a position those aforementioned folks would love to be in.
Take a moment and think about our position.
Though it hasn’t escalated to the pitiful methods of disgrace that it has in those struggling arenas, Blackhawks’ fans jeer and pick apart a team that has won two Stanley Cups, visited the Conference Finals four times, and qualified for the playoffs every year, in the past six seasons. Now, the Blackhawks are far from playing perfect hockey at the moment, but sit back and relax, because when playoffs hit, this team will blow your socks off once again. All you can do, is watch.
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